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Homeless people repeatedly break into North Portland apartment building

The building's management company described police as being “largely unresponsive.”

PORTLAND, Ore. — Residents at a North Portland apartment building said they feel trapped as people living on the streets repeatedly break into their building. Those who spoke to KGW said they can't afford to move out. 

Tenants at the Kentwood Apartments on North Kilpatrick Street said the break-ins are making them feel unsafe. 

“They are shooting up in the common bathrooms. They're using the kitchens.  They're sleeping on the stairs. They're bringing their animals in,” said Esperanza Bohorquez, who has lived in the building for about two years. 

She pays about $1,000 a month for a one-bedroom where she lives with her 9-month-old daughter. Last week, her ceiling collapsed due to water damage.

“It makes me want to cry," Bohorquez said through tears. “I lost everything. I had to sell my food stamps to get diapers.”

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“Very frustrating,” added Bohorquez’s partner Perry Lambert. “Even before the flood happened, there was a lot of issues.” 

Lambert said they can’t afford to move.

"It's almost a helpless feeling because your hands are tied,” he said.

Roland Howerton lives upstairs in the building. He said he's called police when homeless people have broken in. 

“I just feel trapped,” said Howerton. “I don't feel at home here, and you know there's a housing crisis in Portland and it's hard to find a place."

Portland-based Capital Property Management has owned the apartments since January 2021. Since then, the company has documented four instances of unauthorized entry into the building.

The company was not available to speak with KGW on camera, citing safety concerns, but said it's taken the following steps to ensure safety:

1. Sent notifications to residents to not let anyone into the building
2. Rekeyed the building twice
3. Disabled the intercom to circumvent potential easy access for those that give out the code
4. Installed active alarms on fire doors to prevent access in unauthorized areas or emergency areas.

The tenants said it's not enough.

“There's homeless people that'll go through the trash over here and people make keys and hand them to the homeless people and they come in and try to break into people's apartments,” said Bohorquez.

“Still have a lot of people coming in the building. Still have people sleeping in the building,” said Lambert.

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As for the damage to Bohorquez’s apartment, management has since put her in a temporary unit but told her they aren't responsible for her damaged belongings. 

KGW asked Capital Property Management about her damaged belongings. The company cited an Oregon law that requires renters to obtain liability insurance but said it could not share the specifics around her rental agreement. 

It also said it has called the police numerous times regarding people breaking in,  but said police have been largely unresponsive.

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